At Least I Have Been to Spain: My Thoughts on the Final Flight Known as Death
“I t was at this moment that I realized that I could no longer relate to the song Never Been to Spain, which was a hit song written by Hoyt Axton for Three Dog Night back in 1971; and I have been to England, Las Vegas, Oklahoma and Arizona but I have not been to Needles — but I digress.”
Cory Wells — one of the three lead singers of Three Dog Night and an original member of the band — passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 74. He was the person who sang the lead vocals to Never Been to Spain, which was featured on the 1971 album Harmony. May he rest in peace…
…but it was yet another reminder about the eternal finality of death — at least, as we know it. There are plenty of theories about what happens to the souls of people after death — reincarnation, for example — but for the living, death is perceived as final.
Remembering Our Colleagues
Over the years, I have featured articles dedicated to members of the frequent flier community who are no longer with us: Steve Ostrander, who was known as Black Adder; Darren Booth, who was known as UNITED863 and authored Frequently Flying here at BoardingArea; Don Clark, who was known as clacko; Karen Cantu, who was known as KLC; Jim Morago; who was known as magic111; and Michael Cordelli, to name only a few of the people considered to be losses to our relatively small community…
“Oh mercy…last few years I’ve been in his neck of the woods a lot, and always meant to reach out and say hi, but never followed through for this silly reason or that. My family also fostered numerous children, and I always looked forward to the day when we could share some stories…”
Even his “adversaries” — for lack of a better word — on FlyerTalk have been grieving his loss. As an example, here are the words of FlyerTalk member RustyC:
“I was so looking forward to the campaign homestretch for 2016 and u.p. putting in the kind of effort seen in ’08 and ’12 (and maybe before) trying to win it for his candidate (as if it could be won here). Almost never agreed politically on /PR (better luck with SEC dominance on college football in the other OMNI). But he undeniably added color and will be missed. RIP.”
I then thought to myself: would it not have been even better if statements such as these could be posted while the people to whom they are dedicated were still alive? I could imagine the smile on Jim’s face if he had been able to read those — as well as other — statements.
A Relatively Small Community
As a member of our community of frequent fliers, I have always believed that it is important to remain close with each other; to share our knowledge with each other, as I still believe no one is truly an “expert”; to respect each other; and to do what is right. That does not mean that no one should debate issues or hold someone accountable for what he or she said; but it does mean doing what we can to work together to ensure that travel is as fun, affordable, informative and memorable as possible. That is part of my mission for you here at The Gate.
Do What You Want or Need to Do — Before It is Too Late
We are all guilty of procrastination at one point or another in our lives. As most of us do not know when “our time” will come, it is important to do what we can to live our lives to the fullest; to meet people we would like to get to know; and to attempt to have as many of our dreams become a reality as possible. It is inspiring to hear fellow frequent fliers relate how they accomplished certain goals for which they set out for themselves: visiting a country for the first time; having been to all seven continents; trying new cuisine as three of infinite examples. Hopefully, you will think about your travel goals and ask yourself: “I have not done that yet. Why? What is stopping me?!?” before being prompted to get to your computer or tablet and start planning how you will accomplish your next goal.
A good friend of mine — whom I originally met on FlyerTalk and will be 70 years of age soon — announced to me last year that it would be his last time visiting the United States, where he was born and raised before moving to another country. He was comfortable with the thought of not returning to the United States; while I found myself wondering if I will ever see him again. Unfortunately, he was not feeling well during his most recent visit; otherwise, I would have tried to see if there was anything he wanted to do one last time while he was in the United States. I do plan to visit him one day and have been working on timing and planning to do so — although I also hope he reconsiders his intentions.
I cannot imagine what I would want to do if I were visiting my home country one last time. Could you?
Thanks to professional recordings of hit songs, the music of Cory Wells will live on for many years after his death — but that immortality is no longer reserved for those people who are rich, famous or legendary. The Internet can now immortalize anyone — including you and I — which is why it is so important to put some thought into what you post in terms of content. Your thoughts will be immortalized for those who knew you — and as important, in my opinion, for those who do not know you…
…and no, this article is not meant to be morose or depressing. Rather, it will hopefully get you thinking about accomplishing your goals while leaving your mark in this world, which will ultimately outlive you.
I have thought about my own demise — how and when it will happen. No, I am not suicidal or afraid of death; rather, I am more concerned about not achieving certain goals. Also, how will people remember me — if they remember me at all? What impression will the articles written by me at The Gate, the content posted by me at both InsideFlyer and FlyerTalk, and other assorted varieties of media about me leave to other people? Should I even care?
Well, I do care in some ways — one of them being that I hope that I left my mark on this earth, knowing that others have been enriched in some way by me as I have been enriched by others. I hope to have made a positive difference in the lives of people. Another is to have actually traveled and experienced as many places around the world as possible — as well as what those places have to offer. Travel is my passion…
…but this is not just about me. This is about you, too. Is there anything you can think of doing to not only help make the world a better place for others; but also achieve as many of your goals as possible — especially pertaining to travel? Have you thought about how you hope to leave your mark on this world that will exist long after you are gone? How do you want to be remembered?
The flag of Spain flaps in the wind on a cloudy day in Madrid. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.